Texas A&M takes care of LSU
Day earns sixth shutout in seven matches
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M played strong in its 17th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, blanking LSU 4-0 in a first-round match.
"I thought it was a pretty well-played game by our guys," head coach G Guerrieri said. "We were able to keep possession pretty well. LSU is a solid side -- they were the runners-up in the SEC. That said, getting the goal eight minutes in let our players breathe and as the game went on, we got stronger and stronger."
The Aggies kept possession of the ball for the majority of the match, allowing LSU to place just one shot on frame. The Tigers took only six shots on the night.
A&M took an early lead in the ninth minute and held it through the end of the first period. Just seconds prior to the first goal, junior Beth West crossed a ball to junior Nora Skelton, who split defenders in the 18-yard box and fired the first shot on frame of the match, forcing a save by Tiger Goalkeeper Megan Kinneman.
Quickly regaining control, freshman Katie Perry put the ball into play in the Aggie attacking half, sending a ball down the right wing. Senior Merritt Mathias dribbled down to the endline and slotted a pass between defenders to freshman Kelley Monogue who was waiting at the top of the 6-yard box. Monogue one-touched the pass through the goalmouth as the Aggies took a 1-0 lead. The forward has 19 goals on the season, tying the most goals scored in a season by an A&M freshman.
Monogue tried for a second goal in the 22nd minute, shooting from the penalty area as Kinneman dove to punch the ball away from goal. Perry was ready, however and collected the rebound 20 yards out before sending a second shot high.
The Aggies ended the first half with five shots on frame and a lone goal on the board. The team added three security goals in the second half, including two within two minutes of each other.
Mathias jump-started the second-period attack, sending Kinneman diving on a blaze from the top of the arc in the 59th minute.
A&M continued to complete passes and move the ball forward down the field, rarely allowing the Tigers to find a passing rhythm through the half.
With just over 17 minutes left on the clock, the Aggies found the security goal they were looking for. West's corner kick from the left corner was high over the six-yard box. Freshman Meghan Streight broke free from an LSU defender and headed the ball from the top of the six-yard box into the back of the net.
Just 1:48 later West earned an assist on a second set piece, from the right corner of the pitch. This time senior Bri Young found herself open at six yards from goal and headed the 3-0 ball into the goal.
Mathias threatened to expand the lead two minutes later, taking a shot from 15 yards that skidded just wide of the right post.
The Aggies' close shots chased Kinneman from goal with 3:43 left in the match. With Mo Isom in goal, the Aggies waited less-than thirty seconds to take a final 4-0 lead. Junior Lyndsey Gnatzig chipped a long ball into the attacking half from midfield. Freshman Annie Kunz ran in on the ball and went one-on-one against Isom before nailing a blast from the penalty area.
Aggie keeper Jordan Day earned her sixth shutout in seven matches with the victory, making just one save on the night. The freshman stopped several crosses, only allowing LSU to get close once.
A&M has now won eight of its last 10 games and hasn't lost in the past 10 matches.
"Jordan is phenomenal in the air," Guerrieri said. "Early-on in the season I was concerned because it was a drastic change from where she was, especially in any type of aerial ball. I've worked with a lot of the best goalkeepers in the United States, and none of them are as good as Jordan in the air."